REVIEWS: 7 Must-Read Young Adult Books

by |April 21, 2017

Wow. Seriously wow. This is a truly awesome month in YA fiction. It doesn’t get much bigger than this.

For starters, can we please discuss A Court of Wings and RuinIt’s definitely one of the most eagerly awaited YA books of the year. Along with legions of other devoted fans, I cannot wait to get my eyeballs on a copy of this book! It’s going to epic!

And Lord of Shadows. Have you seen our special pre-order price for Cassandra Clare’s latest Shadowhunter book? This book is going to be huge – better get in quick and pre-order your copy now!

And if that’s not enough, take a look at all the new YA releases on offer this month. We have the #LoveOzYa anthology, Begin, End, Begin – a stellar collection of short stories from some of Australia’s best and brightest YA authors. We also have a brand new Patrick Ness novel (yay!), as well as new books from kickass authors like Amy Tintera, Evelyn Skye, Renee Ahdieh, and Margo Lanagan.

Check out our top 7 Young Adult books of the month. Happy reading!

Reviews by Sarah McDuling

Begin End Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology
Edited by Danielle Binks

This gorgeous #LoveOzYa anthology of short stories is one of my favourite things that has happened in 2017 so far. So many amazing Australian authors. So many delightful, magical, wonderful YA stories. It’s pure heaven!

Covering pretty much every genre out there, Begin, End, Begin offers a beautifully diverse spectrum of storytelling. We have a bit of everything, from space romance and psychic powers, to time travel and contemporary realism. Besides the fact that all the authors are Australian, there’s really only one thing these stories have in common – every single one them is a sparkling gem!

I was over the moon to read stories from some of my absolute favourite authors ever (I’m looking at you Amie Kaufman, Will Kostakis and Jaclyn Moriarty), as well as discovering some new favourites along the way. (Like how after reading Ellie Marney’s story, I immediately went and bought all three books in the Every series because Watts and Mycroft are my new obsession.)

As well as the above mentioned authors, we also have stories from Alice Pung, Lili Wilkinson, Gabrielle Tozer, Michael Pryor, Danielle Binks and Melissa Keil… and I’m not kidding when I say they are all fantastic.

This awesome anthology makes me proud to be Australian, and so very happy to be a YA reader. I know I am going to be re-reading this collection many times in the future. This is essential reading for fans of all the authors involved, as well as anyone who likes good storytelling… Learn more.

by Patrick Ness

This is a beautiful and breathtaking book, which is no surprise given that it’s written by Patrick Ness. I adore this author and all of his works. He has a special way of punching straight into your heart and making you feel ALL the emotions.

In his latest book, Patrick Ness does not hold back any heart punches. This book left me feeling emotionally battered and bruised, but also enlightened and awed. This is a story firmly grounded in reality but seamlessly interwoven with supernatural elements which serve to highlight and deepen the emotional impact.

Release follows one day in the life of Adam Thorn, a gay teen who has been raised in a very religious family. Over the course of twenty-four hours, Adam is forced to deal with painful confrontations, personal challenges and some rather peculiar events… all of which culminate in a life-changing day.

This book was inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and Forever by Judy Blume. It’s a stunning novel about the struggle for self-acceptance and the power that comes from emotional release. This book is strange, compelling, magical, important, and completely unforgettable.

Patrick Ness is, as usual, flawless!… Learn more.

Ruined Series: Book 2
by Amy Tintera

I’ve been so looking forward to Avenged, the sequel to Ruined, especially given the way things ended in the first book. Can you say dramatic cliffhanger?

Avenged sees our indomitable heroine, Emelina Flores, returning home to the kingdom of Ruina after rescuing her very powerful (and super crazy) sister Olivia from imprisonment. Meanwhile, Cas is now ruling Lera… but how long will he be able to hold the throne?

This is a fantastic sequel which ramps everything up to a whole new level. This book is packed full of intrigue, drama, plotting and adventure. New alliances are forged and old loyalties are tested as both familial and romantic bonds are strained to breaking point. Ruined was a promising beginning to a new series, and now in Avenged that promise is delivered. I can’t wait to to find out what happens next!

This is a perfect read for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Victoria Aveyard and anyone who likes fantasy, adventure and romance… Learn more.

by S. Jae-Jones

I’m a bit late to the party with Wintersong. I have just started this lovely book, which came out earlier this year, and I am thoroughly enchanted.

I have heard Wintersong described as a retelling of Labyrinth – which was all I needed to know to convince me that I had to read it. It tells the story of Liesl who must travel into a frightening fantasy world to save her sister from the wicked Goblin King.

The story may be familiar, but I am nonetheless enthralled by the beautiful writing and compelling characters. Dark, seductive, lyrical and wildly romantic – I am about halfway through this book and definitely in love!Learn more.

Reviews by Tanaya Lowden

The Crown’s Fate
Crown’s Game Series: Book 2
by Evelyn Skye

Evelyn Skye is back with the sequel to her magical and atmospheric debut, The Crown’s Game.

Vika, Nikolai and Pasha are back for some more Russian adventures! Pasha’s coronation is looming, Vika is now Imperial Enchanter, and Nikolai is stuck as a shadow, not quite dead but also not quite alive. Tension, betrayal, revolution, and dangerous magic combine to make this book a fun and satisfying sequel.

If there’s one thing I love in a book, it’s a Russian setting, and this book doesn’t disappoint! Evelyn Skye has a degree in Russian literature and history, and her clear knowledge and research shines through the pages. I love how she weaves Russian elements and myths throughout this story, making this a strong and unique world.

I also enjoyed getting to explore more of the magic in this sequel. The magic in the first book was impressive, so it was good to see it expanded upon in The Crown’s Fate.

One of the biggest standouts of this series is the lovable characters and their relationships with one another. I absolutely adore Vika, Pasha and Nikolai, and this book definitely had me feeling all the feels as they dealt with their betrayals, secrets, and desires towards each other. I could happily read Russian adventures of the three of them all day every day, and I hope this isn’t the last we’ll see of them.

The Crown’s Fate was a dazzling and magnolious sequel. This series is perfect for fans of The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern... Learn more.

Lord of Shadows
The Dark Artifices: Book 2
by Cassandra Clare

I have been a long time fan of Cassandra Clare. From the age of 15 (that’s eight years now), I have avidly awaited the release of her books, devouring them in one sitting once I have them in hand. Lord of Shadows is no different, and I can’t wait to find out what will happen to Emma and the Blackthorns next!

Perhaps one of my favourite things about reading Cassandra Clare books these days is getting to share the excitement of her newest books with other fans. My best friend and I buddy read these books, and always have so much fun sending commentary to each other whilst we read them. I also appreciate hearing what everyone else has to say about them in the Shadowhunter community – I love to know how Clare’s little twists and shocks impact different people.

For Lord of Shadows, I’m excited to see which of Cassandra Clare’s beloved characters are going to turn up. Personally, I’m all for Tess and Jem appearances, but really, any of her characters popping up would be welcome. I’m also excited to return to the Blackthorn family and Emma. The family dynamics and their relationships with one another was so adorable and had me quite the fan of Lady Midnight.

The ending to Lady Midnight was quite the dramatic scene, with some unexpected plot points dropped that will definitely make Lord of Shadows interesting. Come May 23rd, you’ll find me, Lord of Shadows in hand, desperately perusing the pages to find out ALL the answers. Then the wait and anticipation will begin again, until the next book is released… Learn more.

New Sarah J. Maas!

A Court of Wings and Ruin
A Court of Thorns and Roses Series: Book 3
by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

Contains mature content. Not suitable for younger readers… Learn more.

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About the Contributor

Sarah McDuling is Booktopia's Category Manager for Children's and Young Adult Books. She has been in the bookselling game for almost a decade and a dedicated booklover since birth (potentially longer). At her happiest when reading a book, Sarah also enjoys talking/writing/tweeting about books. In her spare time, she often likes to buy a lot of books and take photographs of books. You can follow her on Twitter and Instragram @sarahmcduling

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